How to work legally in Peru

Work visas, employment laws and working etiquette

How to work legally in Peru

Working in a foreign country usually requires a lot of bureaucracy, and Peru is no exception. However, you can work as an expat hassle-free if you follow these simple steps.

Work visas

Obtaining a work visa in Peru isn’t that difficult once you’re in the country. There are two options to get you started:

  • You can enter Peru with a tourist visa, which is valid for either 90 or 183 days (information on other visas can be found in this guide’s visas and permits section). Once you have found work and have complied with the requirements associated with working for a Peruvian or international company, you may apply for a working visa. Usually this will be valid for the duration of your job contract. To get a work visa, you have to apply at the Dirección General de Migraciones y Naturalización del Perú (DIGEMIN), which is the Peruvian general directorate of immigration and naturalisation, found at Avenida España 734, Breña, Lima (330-4111, ).
  • Or you can enter Peru with a business visa (not a working visa). The same applies as with the tourist visa, except the stay is only 90 days. It may be a good idea to apply for a working visa while you still have your business visa, as you are able to network more easily as a result. Again, apply for a working visa at DIGEMIN once you have a job.

There is another option stated on the DIGEMIN website, which is a ‘permit to work’ for students or volunteers, which can be applied for online by filling out a form .

For more information on extra requirements on top of your working visa, visit your local Peruvian embassy or consulate.

Peruvian working conditions

The following conditions are in place for foreigners in working contracts in Peru and must be met:

  • Foreigners may not be employed for a period of more than 3 years (contract can be renewed later).
  • The total wages of foreign workers may not exceed 30% of total wages the employer pays out (with some exceptions, such as salaries paid to certain technical workers).
  • 20% is the maximum proportion of the workforce that can be made up of foreigners in a Peruvian company.

Working etiquette in Peru

When relocating abroad, it is always important to make an effort to adapt to that country’s way of life, whether socially or at work. Here are some tips to take into account when doing business with Peruvians:

  • Bear in mind that such thing as an hora peruana (Peruvian time) exists. This means that Peruvians will often arrive an hour after the appointed time without it offending anyone or portraying disinterest.
  • Small talk isn't commonly used in meetings, and negotiations will often be competitive.
  • Business decisions are made by whoever is at the top of the company’s hierarchy. So, if you have an important issue, you should meet with the executives.
  • Address people with Señor or Señora followed by their surname until a mutual first-name basis has been established.
  • Although this may seem obvious, business is conducted in Spanish. Therefore, either make sure you are able to speak the language fluently, or bring along a translator.
  • Business cards are very common and much appreciated. It’s a good idea to have one side of your business card printed in Spanish.
  • Wear sensible and conservative clothes. Neatness and elegance is important to Peruvians.

Further reading

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